Antarctica will celebrate its first ever Pride this June.
The event will be held at McMurdo Station, Antarctica’s largest research station, located 850 miles from the South Pole. During Antarctica’s winter months (March-September) 133 people remain at the station. The number increases to around 900 employees when the summer begins in October.
Of the 133 employees, 10 identify as LGBT. Residents Evan Townsend and Shawn Waldron helped to organize the event. In an interview with NewNowNext, Waldron explained he was nervous about LGBT representation on the remote continent.
“My biggest fear before I left was, ‘I’m going to be the only gay person, there’s going to be no one else here,’” Waldron says. “I was wrong.”
Townsend, who brought the Pride flag with him to Antarctica and works in the galley, told NewNowNext other LGBT events have been planned in the warmer months.
“We had a few LGBTQ social events that people showed up to,” Townsend says. “Because it’s such a small community, it’s easy to find out who is and who isn’t in the LGBTQ community.”
Townsend organized to take a group photo with the Pride flag in April as there is less light on the continent in June.
“Why not take this photo and let people see that there’s queer representation — even at the end of the earth,” Townsend says.
Details on the Pride event are still being organized but Waldron told NewNowNext they are planning on a gay bar night and a movie night.
Advocacy group Planting Peace hailed Antarctica as the “world’s first LGBT friendly continent” in 2016.